When hey have serious LDs yet ache to go to college...how do you convince them...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    that a two year state college is a good option???

    My Jumper really strugggles in school. We are due to neuropsychologist test her this summer because we don't feel the school has the reasons done pat. They are really trying to help her, but they don't know how and neither do we. She tries hard, turns in all her work, but really doesn't "get" math and has some reading problems (we are thinking some dyslexia...she has said the words and numbers jump around on the page). We won't even talk about how she freaks out on tests and can not retain complicated information...they say that's the ADD. We'll see. So...

    Jumper is an incredible athlete in every sport possible. She is so good that her coaches all tell her she should easily get college scholarships for sports. I wish they'd stop telling her that because now she feels that she HAS to go to a four year college to play basketball (her favorite sport). All the other girls on her team are going to be able to go to college. Jumper may not be able to get in. In fact, she probably would do better starting at a two year college. There is a Wisconsin two year university nearby that also has sports, but she wants to go to a four year college and play there. It is her dream. It breaks my heart. She gets mostly C's (and that's with interventions). Right now she is struggling hard to bring an F in math up to a D. She will do all the teacher asks because she tries very hard. But this has been what things have been like all through her school years. She has a normal IQ, but LDs and has had an IEP most of her school years. Now she has a 504.

    Jumper is in denial that she may be able to get into a Wisconsin State University (four year) and talks about "when I play basketball in college" all the time. She will probably have to go to the two year university first and transfer. How do you deal with a child who has dreams that she probably can't reach? You need to have a certain GPA to get into these colleges. You have to be able to reach a certain score for the ACTs. I have broached the two year college topic before, telling her they have basketball and volleyball too. She says, "No. That's not the same."

    Jumper is very friendly with our wonderful principal who has taken her under his wing (he really likes her) and tries to empower her. I am thinking of asking the principal, who she listens to more than Dad and Mom, to sort of throw in the good things about starting at a two year college, even for sports, because they have a lot of talks. Other than that, I don't know what to do. It's heartbreaking.

    She is a level-headed, even-tempered kid. I am thinking that maybe on some level she realizes that she may have to alter her dreams. But I don't want to be the one to do that to her. Any ideas on what you'd do if this was YOUR kid? Should I say nothing? She will be fifteen in June so she's still young.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think you should get a school counselor involved... let them work with her to find a school (2 OR 4 year) that will allow her needed supports or at least has a progressive academic support center.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Why not let her apply to several colleges and universities...

    and make her apply to the 2-year college as a "back-up plan".

    If she does not get in to the school of her dreams....THE SCHOOL can be the "bad guy"...she can start at the 2-year and try again another time.

    (And if she is a great-enough athlete to get a full scholarship - the school may have tremendous resources to help her succeed academically. Don't even try to tell me that all those football scholarship recipients are rocket-scientists....you KNOW there is some hand-holding going on to keep those grades up and keep those fellows playing!)
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    In the last 10 years colleges have come a long way in working with students who have LDs. Most have offices of disabilities that provide accommodations to students who need them. I don't think a 4-year college is out of reach for many students if they make up their mind they're going to work for it. I don't think you should rule it out for your daughter at this point without knowing what the college can and can't do for her.
  5. MM,

    I agree with TM, a school counselor could really assist. Also, your state vocational rehabilitation could be involved if Jumper meets their eligibility. As a vocational rehabilitation counselor I sponsored many students with quite serious learning disabilities through a four year university program - and even beyond. Here in our state, the University system has what they call a Regent's Testing Program. This testing process is free of charge - and our school counselors and vocational rehabilitation counselors can refer students there. Once the prospective student receives a learning disability diagnosis they are counseled and given a road map of needed accommodations. The college or university is given the evaluations and reports through the disability services office and all professors are given this information . (That doesn't mean that they all cooperate, but that's another story).

    The accommodations are varied. Our easy child had a part-time job when he was a university student through the disability services office. He took notes for students in several of his classes , as well as doing some coaching and tutoring. These services are all free of charge for the students, and are required by The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As a vocational rehabilitation counselor I often supplemented these services with additional purchases of electronic equipment and extra tutoring. I also approved a less than full time class schedule for many of my clients; and I highly recommend this process for learning disabled students. Our program paid for tuition and living expenses for eligible students, so the expenses were not a problem for the student's families.

    Your school counselor should be able to coordinate your university system's eligibility testing and referral to Vocational Rehabilitation. Good luck with your process!

  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator


    Do you have any links that you could post for the parents on Learning Disability (LD) kids transitioning to college? I imagine many feel lost in the wilderness as high school ends.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    All colleges and universitites, at least in our State, have offices that provide support as needed for those with disabilities. The accomodations can be quite generous. Once the N/P is back I think it will become clearer what her options may be. Hugs. DDD
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT knew from the get-go that she would be going to a community college first. She doesn't test well, and I knew the SAT/ACT would be a huge struggle for her, so that was one of my selling points...they're not required for community colleges here. Also, our district has three sets of graduation requirements, and she was on the third track...the one that meets CA standards, but does not fulfill requirements for a four-year college. Four years of math and science would have done her in...another selling point.

    I understand you don't want to totally burst her bubble and have her give up on the idea of college. Maybe a small private college would be a better fit than a huge state university for Jumper; smaller campus, lower teacher to student ratio. It's working well for Miss KT.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all of you. I'm going to use all of your ideas.

    Although they overlook many top football players whose grades aren't up to par, doubt they'd do that for girl's basketball or volleyball :/

    Does anyone know a good school for kids with LDs in Wisconsin or Illinois (she can go to free in IL...hub is a vet, BUT she wants to stay in WI). Doesn't hurt to look though.

    As for a smaller college, just out of our price range. She will have to take out a loan as it is.

    Thanks! Keep any suggestions coming!
  10. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It also helps to remember they don't have to do a 4-year degree in 4 years... I did mine in 5 on purpose, and know some who did it in 6. Up here, I think they have a 5-year window on university sports...
  12. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

  13. TM,

    Here is a very comprehensive link :


    There's lots of good links on that page for parents, counselors, and educators. It's been a number of years since I worked as a VR counselor (I work in the Workers' Compensation field now) - but when I was a VR counselor, I periodically visited several local high schools and received referrals of disabled students from the school counselors. My state VR (Georgia) funds economically eligible students who meet the eligibility for the program (documented severe disability that impairs two or more life functions) for free evaluations (of disability and vocational possibilities), education, job placement, job coaching, etc. Once a student is 18, their parents' income is no longer considered for college support. That means that tuition, books, supplies, and living costs can be paid for an eligible disabled student. We funded many students with disabilities (including learning disabilities) through college - and some through graduate school as well. Although it was not done commonly, we also funded some students at small, out of state , disability friendly colleges.

    That being said, this support does not come easily - as you might imagine. Advocates (usually parents) have to do their research and help push through the process of evaluation, eligibility determination, and development of an individualized rehabilitation plan for the disabled student. The student needs to put forth good effort and alert the counselor and the disability office of the college of any problems they are having. This is a wonderful program; and we would definitely have difficult child in it, if my husband and I weren't such a part of the rehab community here. We feel that we have enough information to wing it on our own. (My husband represents many clients of the VR agency who want to appeal decisions made on their cases).

    I encourage any parent of a child with a disability (and that definitely includes learning disabilities), to partake of their state's VR program and the Disability Services offices at institutions of higher learning. They are a wonderful resource. However, like with any governmental program, you have to do your research and be persistent!

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much...more than I can write here.

    Love you all.
  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    About that 4-year degree thing... It took me 7 years. 6 if you count the year I "took off". I did not have any LDs, disabilities or accomodations. I just couldn't handle full-time college and a life at the same time... And trust me, it wasn't all bar hopping. I worked a lot.

    I'd best a 4-year college isn't entirely out of the picture, sweetie. :hugs:
  16. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Has she had a thorough speech and language assessment done?

    Has she had a Behavioral/developmental Vision Exam? looks at tracking and other visual processing issues?
  17. comatheart

    comatheart Guest

    There is. A friend of mine works for a major University and this is exactly what she does. (Private tutoring and hand holding of the athletes.) It's crazy some of the stories she tells!!

    Anyway, it sounds like there are a lot of resources for Learning Disability (LD) kids. I hope they will allow my 12 yr old to attend College someday. I don't think you should talk her out of anything. Just go with it and see what's offered.
  18. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    My son went to a two year first and then transfered into a four year but he could have done the four year right off the bat. His counselors were on the ball and filed all the paperwork for his modifications to follow him to college and they did. He graduated with honors from Shippensburg with a degree in economics. Unfortunately he didn't interview well and couldn't get a job in his field. But he is working Full time and owns his on condo. Not bad for a kid who was diagnosis at 16 months of age as mildly retarded with an IQ of 68. (he isn't retarded though he is aspergers). I say let her try. Get the guidance counselor involved. Have her modifications follow her. She might surprise you! -RM
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I of course am coming from a different background, so some of my ideas will be different. But it sounds like it would be a good idea to get something from out of the square!

    First - what does Jumper want to do, as a career in life? What are her long-term aspirations? Playing basketball is not a long-term plan, although I do see that in the US it can help get her into a course that can give her a qualification. But what?

    Second - if the various colleges/universities have good support staff, then call one campus now and talk to them. It is in the interests of the campus to promote itself and tout for more students, so even though she's just 15, they will be very likely to help with good advice. Ring around, talk to a few of them. Or email them.

    Third - depending on what she eventually wants to do, an apprenticeship might be worth considering. If she's so thoroughly into sport, maybe she can get a job now, coaching a team of little kids? Even a volunteer position, or even starting her own team, could get her some valuable experience.

    One final suggestion on a different front - her description of how the letters/numbers look on the page sounds a lot like the kind of dyslexia that over here in Australia, they prescribe coloured glasses for. The pioneer of this is Helen Irlen, if you Google Irlen glasses you might find some useful information. Some practitioners of this can charge hefty fees but you might be able to fudge something by taking Jumper to an optometrist who has a wide range of samples of coloured lenses, and seeing which shade of which colour seems to settle the characters down for her. I remember that is what my sister did with her son (they couldn't even get in to see Helen Irlen; waiting list a mile long) and he ended up with dark grey lenses, he was so severe.

    The theory is, that some frequencies of light aggravate the problem and filtering those out from the brain helps the brain cope with what is left. If you know someone who works in the theatre and can get their hands on some gels (those cellophane thingies they use in front of spots) it might be interesting for Jumper to see how the page looks through a gel.

    You know me - I'm a fan of "If you can't afford the expert or even get access to one, try to do it yourself."

  20. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member


    Is Jumper a freshman? The first thing to do (which her high school counselor should have done but most don't) is to plan her high school classes by checking her courses with the NCAA Clearinghouse to be sure that they "count". She only has 4 years to take her core classes in order to pass the Clearinghouse (if she doesn't pass the Clearinghouse, she doesn't play D1 or D2). The ACT score she needs is on a sliding scale with her GPA (the higher the GPA, the lower the ACT can be and still pass).

    Most Special Education classes do not count. If she is in regular ed classes, there is less of a worry but you can find her high school and the approved courses here: https://web1.ncaa.org/hsportal/exec/hsAction?hsActionSubmit=searchHighSchool

    Here is a good site with lots of info about the Clearinghouse: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/guidance/prepare/athletes/clearinghouse

    But academics are only part of the issue, the other part is the ability to compete. While her coaches may truly think she is awesome, how many girls have they moved onto NCAA teams? Does she play club ball? Has she done any elite camps at UW or similiar?

    Kanga was a high level athlete and we got those elite invites before she left for Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Several girls that were significantly weaker than her will be playing in college next year. But, even without the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/mental health issues, she didnt take the 'core' classes cause she was in Special Education and she hasn't been able to take an ACT-type test in years (she always takes the 'alternate assessment'.)

    Piglet competes for the top club in our state that just sent 10 girls onto NCAA athletics. Our club is excellent about getting all of the info to our junior high parents and stressing GRADES GRADES GRADES with the girls. All of the elite training goes out the window if they can't pass the Clearinghouse.

    Feel free to PM me if you want more info on this.